The pin up girl – 7 of the best

Pin up girls or cheesecake models have been popular since the early 20th century – here are my pick of my favourites and the most influential.

Betty Grable

Betty Grable was one of the most popular pin up girls during WW2. Famed for having the best legs in Hollywood her pin up photos were a real favourite stuck on the lockers of GIs.

Betty_Grables_famous_WWII_pinup.JPG

Above: Source and copyright:  This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.

The Gibson Girl

The Gibson Girls were one of the earliest popular ‘pin up’ girls. Drawn by Charles Dana Gibson there were idealised drawings of the beauties of the age and were all the rage in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Gibson girl pin up

Above: source and copyright: Some rights reserved by Stmarygypsy

Varga Girls

Varga girls are some of the most iconic pin up images – partly because they were copied onto the noses of planes during the Second World War as symbols of good luck.

Alberto Vargas started painting quite modest beauties for Esquire Magazine during the 1930s but during the war the girls became more and more risqué as they played dress up in military uniforms. Thousands of copies of Esquire were sent to American troops as a morale boosting exercise during WW2.

You can see a gallery of Varga Girls here - you’ll be amazed by how many of these images you recognize!

Bettie Page

The ‘Queen of Pinups’ and a popular pinup girl of the 1950s, Bettie Page is famed for her fetish and bondage photos. Her style is still emulated today with her trademark bright blue eyes, trademark black hair and short fringe.

Bettie Page

Above: Source and copyright: This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.

Marilyn Monroe

Easily the most famous of all pin up girls, Marilyn Monroe cemented her pin up status when she was the first woman to cover Playboy magazine in December 1953. More photos of Marilyn.

Marilyn Monroe

Above: Source and copyright: This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.

Jane Russell

Jane Russell caused outrage when she displayed her ample cleavage for her first mainstream move The Outlaw. She never really looked back after that…

Jane Russell

Photo: Source and copyright: This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.

Brigitte Bardot

French actress Brigitte Bardot reached fame in 1956 when she starred in And God Created Woman which launched her sex kitten image. She was one of the iconic sex symbols of the 1960s with her big hair and kohl rimmed eyes.

Brigitte Bardot

Above: Source and copyright:This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.

So, which pin up girl is your favourite? And did I miss anyone important out..? Let me know what you think!

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  • http://stacyblaise.wordpress.com stacyblaise

    Beautiful…

    Miss Stacy Blaise

    • http://weheartvintage.co Mary

      ah, but who’s your favourite? :)

      • http://stacyblaise.wordpress.com stacyblaise

        I think Bridget Bardot. :)
        Very hard choice though.

        Stacy Blaise

  • http://erotixx.wordpress.com Rincewind

    Betty Grable was just stunning but Vargas is the king of pinups and I would say one of the more influential artist except Gil Elvgren.

  • http://fashionktea.tumblr.com Katie

    Brigitte Bardot looks so much like Julie Christie (in Dr. Zhivago) in this photo.

    Oh and I really like Varga Girls.

    Jane Russell is very beautiful – I love her in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn.

  • http://twitter.com/cutandchic CutandChicVintage (@cutandchic)

    Yes I was wondering what happened to Gil Elvgren’s girls? Bettie Page and Jane Russell would be my favorites. Go brunettes! ;)

    • http://weheartvintage.co Mary

      Very true – Gil Elvgren’s pinups should probably be in there too…

  • ThePixelDad.com

    Marilyn, by far. I’ve been planning a pin up tattoo of her on my left leg for a few years now, but just can’t find the right pose for her to be in.